Student Blog: My Essentials for Tackling Finals

Finals are a lot, no matter your area of studying. Here are a few of my suggestions for maintaining as much sanity possible this time of year!

By: Apr. 21, 2024
Student Blog: My Essentials for Tackling Finals
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Whatever gets you through finals is totally up to you. It's a weird time of just trying to survive and all of my friends on the semester system can feel it coming. I always love people's thoughts on how they approach this final obstacle, so here are my essentials for getting through finals!

First, I find it so important to move and socialize every day. I like to do these things in the morning to get them out of the way, but they could be good breaks too! If I sit the whole day in a chair without working out and/or connecting with others, it definitely decreases my productivity. Recognizing the importance of these two things was important as I find it so easy to dismiss them and choose work instead. But, I am trying to be better at crafting a more holistic schedule this finals season, so maybe it will be better this time!

Next, I MUST get ready every day. This may seem stupid or unnecessary, but I always find feeling my best is the first test towards doing my best, even if I am just studying. It could be as simple as showering and not walking out the door in your pajamas. I tend to prefer the more elaborate process of feeling completely put together (like makeup, fit, the whole deal) before I begin my day. I see this as my first accomplishment which only propels me towards greater productivity.

There are so many different study methods out there. You have the Pomodoro technique, active recall, blurting, etc. Those overwhelm me. I prefer a timed-method and I call it "1-10-3-1", like "12-3-30" but with more numbers. This could be an existing technique, but I like this name better. The concept is you set a timer and work for an hour (1), take a break for 10 minutes (10), and repeat until you have hit 3 hours (3) when you get an hour break (1). I like knowing when I have an end to my study time because then my work feels like it cannot drone on, I have to keep working or else I will lose my momentum.

Short and simple: move around. Science shows that you are more productive when you choose a new study spot for each subject, so do that:)

I struggle SO MUCH with social media and mindless scrolling while studying. Nothing is worse than wasting an hour doing nothing. I tried setting time limits for apps but those are too easy to bypass. I found this app called "one sec" to be the most effective. Maybe this is less "underground" than I thought, but I will preach about it anyway. Basically, it forces you to take a deep breath before opening an app to stop you from habitually scrolling every time you need a brain break. I have it for Instagram but you can set it for anything. The best/worst part is that it tells you how many times you attempted to open the app in the past 24 hours and how much time you have spent on it/an estimate of how time it has kept you from scrolling. It has been a miracle this semester as now instead of staring at screens all day, I actually have learned to take brain breaks.

I will say I try to finish all of my work by 9 pm. This almost never happens. However, the goal is to be off screens about an hour before bed to begin taking it easy for the night. I struggle with this because I feel any rest time is wasted time. But, I recognize this false logic and have tried to work against it. So, set an end time for yourself.

Final essential: give yourself something to be excited about! Maybe it is rewarding yourself for writing an essay or finishing a hard reading, whatever it is, celebrating the small wins. I also try to plan something to look forward to every 3 days or so. One day it was my sorority invite, another was going to see a show on campus. Those little non-academic moments are such good relief from the turmoil of preparing for finals.

All in all, you are not a machine, so do not treat yourself like one! My dad always tells me "they can't stop the clock" so no matter how crazy life may feel, it will keep going! Eventually things will be due and tests will be over, so keep pushing! And always remember, be easy on yourself:)


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